Oct. 27, 2011
PITTSBURGH - In a one-on-one sport like wrestling, there is no better way for a student-athlete to prove he belongs in the starting spot than to beat the competition head-to-head.
Panther wrestlers had the chance to do just that during the Blue vs. Gold match Thursday at the Fitzgerald Field House. The event featured 15 matches, including nine that counted toward the final team scoring.
With his team leading 19-13, returning national qualifier Zac Thomusseit clinched a 25-13 victory for Gold with a second-period pin at heavyweight.
"It's an evaluation for us. They feel a lot of pressure, because they are competing for a spot," said Pitt assistant coach Matt Kocher. "But it's just one evaluation. We'll go to the Buffalo Open next weekend and have another one. It's a good way for us to see where we're at and it's good practice for them."
Blue took an early 7-3 lead in the match with wins by junior Anthony Zanetta and freshman Travis Shaffer. Zanetta, a two-time national qualifier, opened with a 12-3 major decision over freshman Derrick Nelson at 125. Following a win for Gold by Shelton Mack, Shaffer posted an 8-2 decision over freshman Ronnie Garbinsky at 141.
Mack used three takedowns in the first two periods to get the win over fellow sophomore Erik Galloway.
Led by back-to-back wins from a pair of national qualifiers, Gold pulled away with victories at the next four weight classes.
Senior Tyler Nauman and junior Donnie Tasser - a combined four NCAA tournament appearances between the two - started the run by both earning bonus points. Nauman rolled to an 11-1 major decision over redshirt freshman Jordan Moss at 149, while Tasser recorded the first fall of the night, pinning Troy Reaghard with a front-side cradle in the first period to give Gold its first lead of the night (13-7).
With a takedown in all three periods, sophomore Tyler Wilps made it three straight for Gold with an 8-2 win over Karl DeCiantis. Freshman Nick Bonaccorsi upped Gold's lead to 19-7, looking very impressive in a 6-2 win over P.J. Tasser.
Matt Wilps ended the run and kept Blue in the match with his pin at 197. Wilps, a national qualifier two seasons ago, racked up 10 points before registering his first-period fall.
Thomusseit closed out the match with his pin at heavyweight. He led 9-2 before getting the fall midway through the second period.
"There was good and bad. I think we have a lot of things we need to work on," Kocher said. "Some guys didn't handle their fatigue too well. Others I thought responded very well. A lot of guys were getting back points and a lot of guys were aggressive out there, which is a good thing."
Kocher said the coaching staff was pleased with the performance of some of the wrestlers competing at the college level for the first time.
"I was really impressed by some of the freshman," said Kocher, who named Shaffer, Nelson and Garbinsky as just a few of the wrestlers he was referring to. "A three minute first period is a long time for the guys that are used to a 2-2-2, but I thought most of them handled it pretty well."
Pitt opens the season at the Buffalo Open on Sunday, Nov. 6. The Panthers' first home match of the season will be against Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 19.
Gold 25, Blue 13
125 - Anthony Zanetta (Blue) m.d. Derrick Nelson, 12-3
133 - Shelton Mack (Gold) dec. Erik Galloway, 6-4
141 - Travis Shaffer (Blue) dec. Ronnie Garbinsky, 8-2
149 - Tyler Nauman (Gold) m.d. Jordan Moss 11-1
157 - Donnie Tasser (Gold) fall Troy Reaghard, 1:43
165 - Tyler Wilps (Gold) dec. Karl DeCiantis, 8-2
174 - Nick Bonaccorsi (Gold) dec. P.J. Tasser, 6-2
197 - Matt Wilps (Blue) fall Jordan Shulman, 2:52
285 - Zac Thomusseit (Gold) fall Mike Gregory, 4:02
125 - Derrick Nelson m.d. Chace Small, 17-4
133 - Zach Galloway dec. Zach Grove, 6-2
141 - Ronnie Garbinsky dec. Dom Pietropaolo, 9-3
149 - Tyler Nauman m.d. Eric Nutter, 8-0
149 - Jordan Moss dec. Josh Pascazi, 6-5 (OT)
157 - Troy Reaghard dec. Victor Konno, 2-1